Eight more ships have since come through the rift with varying degrees of damage. All report that the damage was sustained in the rift by an unknown vessel that had weapons that simply sliced through their defenses. I have heard of them before. The vessels they describe. The Doctor called them “The Silence”. Another group of lost “Rangers” that had drifted through called them “The Shadow.” I grew up knowing them as “The Ja’Desh.” Bringers of death and chaos.
Retired Admiral Kryss Th’Dabie paced the Ready Room. It was so unlike Anna to be this bossy, especially with an old friend. “I’m like the mother she never knew and grandmother to her children. What is her problem now? Ordering me like I am beneath her!” Kryss thought as her paling antennae twitched with nerves. She really wished that Anna had not requested her back on this place from Andor, even though her mind was more at ease here and calm had returned to her for the first time in years. Her gaze caught the glow of the rift as another battle-damaged ship emerged. She began to wring her hands together, digging her nails into her arm in attempts to calm down.
The sound of the door opening behind her caught her attention. There he was. Standing… unharmed. Her son…
Could it be? Mog? Her impossible child from a tryst on Ferenginar. His lobe was intact, his barely noticeable antennae danced nervously above them. His clothes looked to be the same as when she last saw him. He had aged too, though, so had she these past seven years.
Anna stood behind Mog, beaming with joy. The temporal signature matched. This was THEIR MOG! So many questions and so few answers. Slightly she pushed Mog into the Ready Room, “Go hug Moogie already, Brother.” She whispered to him. “You aren’t dreaming anymore. This is real. You are home.” It was hard to choke back her tears. She had to. Her tears always lead to trouble.
The Command Center was silent from behind her except for the everyday chatter. All silently were watching for the lift door to open for Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Van Cleave to come sulking through. He had earned every little bit of that rank in the past seven years since he had turned 18. This man-child deserved a moment of happiness too. His mother had been deliberately vague on her request for him to be called from one of the mess halls to the Ready Room.
The lift door opened to admit the gangly man child, who was hastily stuffing the remains of a doknade sandwich in his mouth. His blazing blues eyes took in the scene and came to rest on the backs of his mother and Mog. “UNCLE MOG!” In just a few short strides of his long legs, Christopher crossed the Command Center to hug his uncle by choice from behind.
“Oh my, oh.” Mog exclaimed. “What happened to the little child that was running around the space station getting into everything in engineering?” Kryss slowly sank to the floor of the Ready Room. Anna rushed over to her, followed by Mog, and Christopher.
Her aged blue hand reached up to touch Mog’s face and motherly caress his singular lobe. “Are you real? Am I dreaming?” She finally managed to ask.
A slender woman in a tattered Starfleet Uniform, coal black hair, emerald eyes,
and stark red lips emerged from the lift and strode into the Ready Room. Anna looked up and smiled. “Lieutenant Jan, how can we ever thank you and your crew for bringing him back to us?”
“We actually have Mog to thank. When we got pulled into whatever that thing is,” she waved her hand in the general direction of the rift, “we found his escape pod floating. Life support was barely functional. He had cocooned himself in a makeshift stasis chamber. It was pretty simple for us to revive him. His knowledge proved useful in navigating in the energized muck of that thing.” The last word was spit out, as if it was a curse. After a thoughtful moment, she replied, “Getting us back to our own dimension would be nice.”
The door to the Ready Room opened, once more. Lieutenant Rhonda Th’Dabie stood there, her initial facial expression was of anger then softened when she saw her husband. There was an inaudible “aww” from everyone as they embraced one another in the center of the room. Anna felt joy that she had not had in years. Mog quickly began to explain that when the Search and Rescue Team he had gone out on got sucked into the rift, their run-about took extensive damage. He was able to stabilize it for just a bit before the would-be habitants of the rift began to attack. As Captain Harris’ last act, she shoved him into an escape pod and hit the locking mechanism, shooting the only survivor of a crew of twenty-one, into the charged nothingness of the rift. He watched it explode, with the remaining twenty souls on board, before having to turn to his dire situation of being in an escape pod with only a week’s worth of life support, rations, and not a single planet in sight.
Christopher slowly sat down in a chair, looking as if he were about to throw up his recently inhaled meal. “My father and brother? They followed your run-about into the rift. Where are they?”
Mog looked at him blankly. “The Admiral? Poppy?” He suddenly looked around the room at the forlorn faces. “You mean, they’re not here?” His eyes darted about, hoping that what he was hearing was somehow wrong! It was now Mog’s turn to sit down as comprehension of some of the events that took place in his absence took over his mind. He began to pull with nervous vigor on the left side of his lobe, causing a recently repaired wound to openly bleed. “I didn’t see any other vessels enter the rift with us. I mean, other than the empty shell of a ship we were attempting to salvage for data and that was taken aboard the thing that attacked us.”
Christopher stood to his full height, taller than all present, straightened his uniform, cleared his throat, and his cold steel chameleon eyes locked with Anna’s. “Permission to be dismissed, sir.” He requested, in an eerily calm voice. Anna’s eyes softened once more as she looked upon her youngest child that had grown into a man during her extended absence before nodding her head in agreement, the cold realization that her oldest son and ex-husband were for all accounts dead, dampened the mood of everyone in the room.